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Elections Not Credible Even at the Precinct Level By Benjie Oliveros May 20, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Elections Not Credible Even at the Precinct Level


I stand corrected. In a previous analysis “Has the Country Achieved a Clean, Honest, and Democratic Elections,” this writer concluded that except for the long queues, election automation was able to fix the voting process in the precinct level by making the tabulation and transmission of results smoother such that the job of poll watchers has become boring. However, after listening to the reports of the recently-concluded Peoples’ International Observers Mission, it became clear that while in the National Capital Region, voters only had to contend with the long lines and some missing names in official voters’ lists, voters in the provinces had to confront the same old fraudulent process called ‘elections’ even at the precinct level.

The largest delegation of foreign election observers ever to visit the country was divided into teams that went to Abra in Northern Luzon, Pampanga and Tarlac in Central Luzon, Cavite and Quezon in Southern Tagalog, Albay and Sorsogon in the Bicol region, Iloilo in the Visayas, Davao, Surigao and Lanao del Sur in Mindanao, Tondo and Payatas in the National Capital Region. To cover more polling centers they further subdivided into teams with local members of peoples’ organizations. What the different teams saw was the same all over the country. The following are the findings of the foreign observers’ mission regarding what transpired in polling places and precincts.

1. There was a sore lack in the preparations.

- There were too few PCOS machines, with many incidences of breakdown, paper jam, and overheating. The foreign observers discovered that Smartmatic purposely did not install cooling fans in the machines to cut on costs. In Davao, 24 out of 64 PCOS machines failed to transmit returns.

PCOS machines were being delivered up to the day before the elections.

- There was a lack of teachers serving as BEIs and an outrageous lack of technicians, with one technician handling many clustered precincts.... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/20/benjie-oliveros-elections-not-credible-even-at-the-precinct-level/

Comelec, Smartmatic Should Be Held Accountable 29 May 2010 By BENJIE OLIVEROS

Comelec, Smartmatic Should Be Held Accountable 


29 May 2010


The faint smile on Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo during the evening of May 10 indicated feelings of relief and pride that they were able to push through with the automated elections. A lot of people were bedazzled by the speed by which the election returns were tabulated. Soon, people were praising the Comelec, including a columnist of a major broadsheet saying that he was glad he had to eat his words.

But after a week, the Comelec and Smartmatic were peppered with criticisms and complaints. And now it is being flooded by election protests, which, according to Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento, even exceeded the number of protests filed in 2007.

Comelec officials are dismissing these election protests as mere reactions of losers. A Comelec official was said to have commented that there are two types of candidates – those who won and those who were cheated. Malacañang suggested that Congress dispenses with these complaints and proceed with the canvassing of votes for president and vice president.

The position of those who are allied with presumptive president Noynoy Aquino is very much the same – proceed with the canvassing and proclaim the winning candidates. They are even expressing fears that the proclamation of the next president might not be done on time, and would lead to a power vacuum.

Then came a supposed whistleblower who alleged that certain Comelec officials have offered their services in ensuring the victory of candidates in exchange for money. Fingers are being pointed at different directions as to who are behind the alleged whistleblower dubbed as koala. The Comelec is saying that all these are being orchestrated by a losing presidential candidate. Rep. Teddy Locsin is pointing at Malacañang.... MORE  

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/29/benjie-oliveros-comelec-smartmatic-should-be-held-accountable/

AES – a Lemon? Published on May 28, 2010 By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

AES – a Lemon?

Published on May 28, 2010

Streetwise/Business World
Posted by

Technology has always been a double-bladed tool. In the right hands and wielded properly, it is like a magic wand that can make everyday living easier, work lighter, production faster and more efficient, etc. Used improperly and in the wrong hands, it could cut a swathe of death and destruction more efficiently and swifter than one can utter “hi-tech”.

That is why countless tests, quality control procedures, built-in safeguards, monitors, maintenance requirements, redundancy features, etc. go into all gizmos that are potentially life-threatening, be it a machine pistol, motorcycle, space shuttle, or nuclear plant.

Furthermore, society has seen it fit and prudent to ensure that the authority to operate these high-tech gizmos is restricted by law only to those properly trained and proven competent — technically, physically, mentally and in accord with the purposes of whatever entity is making use of these machines.
In brief, two things are imperative: (1) the quality or reliability of the machine which allows for near zero-tolerance of error, and (2) the competence of the operator.

Both are seriously in doubt with regard to the Automated Electoral System used in the May 10 elections.

Since election day, we have been swamped with an avalanche of complaints and reports of anomalies and electronic fraud — some backed up by hard evidence, others sounding like red herrings to divert and confuse the public mind. Still, the very nature of an automated count compels us not to easily set aside even those complaints that appear to have no clear proof or evidence.

It is noteworthy that in Germany, one of the most technically advanced countries, electronic voting has been constitutionally banned precisely because of the near impossibility of preventing anomalies from occurring.

We start with the premise that elections for government positions are of such crucial importance and are by nature part of the people’s sovereign power such that these cannot be entrusted to anyone but the people themselves, albeit through government. It follows that elections should not be contracted out to any private entity, much less a multinational corporation, whose allegiance to national interests can not be presumed.

In this instance, the Arroyo government, through the Commission on Elections, virtually abdicated its responsibility and duty to oversee the elections. It hired Smartmatic-TIM (for all intents and purposes a foreign business firm with Filipino partners only to comply with legal requirements) to design, set up and operate the automated 2010 elections. There is a clear case for questioning the constitutionality and political wisdom of such an arrangement.

Moreover both Comelec and Smartmatic ignored, bypassed and short-circuited the safeguards provided by law to ensure a fraud- and error-free automated elections.

To begin with, the source code (or the human-readable version of the computer programs running on the Precinct Count Optical Scan or PCOS and Consolidation and Canvassing System or CCS machines) was not allowed to be adequately inspected by independent IT experts as provided by law. This inspection could have ensured that the machines would be executing the correct steps in the appreciation, counting and canvassing of the votes.... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/28/carol-pagaduan-araullo-aes-%E2%80%93-a-lemon/

Campus Journalists Pay Tribute to Colleagues Who Became Victims of Rights Violations Published on May 8, 2010 by Anne Ednalyn Dela Cruz

Campus Journalists Pay Tribute to Colleagues Who Became Victims of Rights Violations

Published on May 8, 2010

Anne Ednalyn dela Cruz


Two victims of human rights violations who were former campus journalists were given tribute by fellow campus journalists from College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) during the 70th National Student Press Convention in Negros Occidental last April 25.

Former CEGP-Visayas vice president and former editor of Vital Signs, the campus publication of Velez College, Rachelle Mae Palang, and James Balao, former editor of The Outcrop, the student publication of the University of the Philippines-Baguio, were awarded the Gawad Marcelo H. Del Pilar for 2010, the highest citation given to CEGP alumni.

Rachelle Mae Palang: In the Service of the People

Rachelle Mae Palang was Velez College’s Vital Signs editor-in-chief for three consecutive years. In 2005, she was elected as the vice president for Visayas of CEGP.

During her term as vice-president of CEGP, she communicated with student publications across the Visayas islands and worked hard to reopen student publications that were closed by school authorities. She also led campaigns to end all forms of restrictions on press freedom and against students’ rights violations.... MORE    

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/08/campus-journalists-pay-tribute-to-colleagues-who-became-victims-of-rights-violations/

How an Ingredient Found in Everything from Chocolate to Chips Is Causing Massive Environmental Destruction May 29, 2010 by Sarah Newman

How an Ingredient Found in Everything from Chocolate to Chips Is Causing Massive Environmental Destruction

Published on May 29, 2010


Posted by Bulatlat.com

The production of palm oil, the common ingredient in an astounding number of products, is causing deforestation, global warming emissions and a loss of biodiversity.

The aisles of any American grocery store, whether it’s a big-box behemoth or a cramped urban bodega, are filled with enough packaged goods to satiate nearly every consumer demand and impulse. But behind the neatly stocked shelves and cheery in-store commercials lurks a dirty secret concerning the dramatic and harmful global impact of the products we buy.

The common ingredient in an astounding number of products — from laundry detergent and chips to soap, candy and makeup — is palm oil. Grown primarily in Indonesia, palm farms are causing alarming rates of deforestation and displacement of indigenous peoples, and are posing a serious threat to local biodiversity. Far from a localized problem, the consequences of palm oil production are international in scope; according to the World Bank, Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, with a whopping 80 percent of its emissions being due to deforestation. And while six million hectares of land in the country have already been converted to palm plantations, a fight is now raging to protect the remaining forests, mainly on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra..... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/29/how-an-ingredient-found-in-everything-from-chocolate-to-chips-is-causing-massive-environmental-destruction/

‘Burning lust for power’ by Nestor Mata

‘Burning lust for power’

Nestor Mata


‘Noynoy Aquino seems restless and in a hurry to ascend to the presidency.’ 

WHY is Noynoy Aquino so much in a hurry to be proclaimed as the winner of what might yet be the dirtiest of all presidential contests in our political history?

Is it because Noynoy is being pushed to capture the seat of power by his eager Liberal Party jabberers, his resurrected Kamaganak, Inc., and his drumbeaters in both print and broadcast media?

It looks like they want him to display a burning lust for power. And they also want to quell persistent reports of massive electronic frauds for fear that these might reveal that his presumed victory was an inauthentic political phenomenon.

Not a few observers have commented on Noynoy’s stance in the last few weeks after the May 10 national elections..... MORE  


URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph/05272010/edmata.html

Maguindanao Massacre: Half a Year of Mourning for Justice by Jenny S. De Venecia May 29, 2010

Maguindanao Massacre: Half a Year of Mourning for Justice

Published on May 29, 2010

To date, the Ampatuan massacre is still the worst political killing in the country with the most number of journalists/media practitioners killed in a single event.

MANILA – Justice has been elusive for the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and as the media marked the sixth month since the gruesome killings were committed, a lone and widowed wife joined as they continue to seek justice for the slain victims.

With their traditional black shirts, candles and banners demanding for justice, Editha Tiamzon, wife of UNTV driver Daniel Tiamzon, and journalists led by Malaya Business Insight, marched along Port Area, Manila, Sunday, May 23.
Despite the tremendous risk to her security, Editha still chose to participate in the event to continue the fight against the powerful Ampatuan clan. “If I won’t go out and shout for justice for the victims, these killings will be forgotten,” she said in Filipino during the program.

“It has been six months, my children and I are missing my husband,” Editha said. She said she will continue to fight for justice even if it takes a year for it to be served. “I am thanking everyone who is helping us, including the media people who have supported us since the beginning,” she added.

Karapatan and other media organizations namely the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) also participated in the event.
The program commemorated the infamous Maguindanao massacre, in which 57 people were abducted and brutally killed last November 23, 2009 in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Among the victims were 32 journalists/media practitioners who escorted the wife and sisters of Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu in filing his certificate of candidacy for governor.

To date, the Ampatuan massacre is still the worst political killing in the country with the most number of journalists/media practitioners killed in a single event..... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/22/campaign-contributions-pre-programming-key-to-aquino-victory-sison/

Low Turn-Out in Absentee Voting Due to Ghost of Garci – Migrants’ Group by Janess J. Ellao May 22, 2010

Low Turn-Out in Absentee Voting Due to Ghost of Garci – Migrants’ Group

Published on May 22, 2010

If there is one thing that keeps overseas Filipino workers (OFWs )from going through the hassles of overseas absentee voting, Migrante International said, it is because the ghost of Garci is still haunting the Filipino people.

“How sure are they that their votes would be counted?” Migrante chairperson Garry Martinez said, “The ghost of Garci is still here, haunting us.”

Garci is the moniker for former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano whose telephone conversation with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was recorded during the 2004 elections. In the said conversation, Arroyo was asking Garcillano to ensure that she wins by one million votes against Fernando Poe Jr. who was her rival for the presidency. Dubbed as the “Hello Garci scandal,” this almost caused the downfall of the Arroyo administration in 2005.

Martinez said their chapters abroad reported that most OFWs were discouraged to vote for fear that the election results would merely be manipulated even if it was automated.

Higher than 2007 But Still Low

This fear, according to Martinez, has resulted to a very low turn-out in the overseas absentee voting. With over 568,733 land-based registered voters and 21,097 seafarers, only 24 percent or 153,300 voted as of May 10, 7:00 p.m.

While this is higher than the 16 percent turnout during the 2007 elections, it is still considered low compared to the 2004 elections where there was a 65 percent turnout in the overseas absentee voting.

Migrante Middle East coordinator John Monterona said that no single post had reached a 50 percent turnout this election.... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/22/low-turn-out-in-absentee-voting-due-to-ghost-of-garci-%E2%80%93-migrants%E2%80%99-group/

Political Comeback of Marcos Family Alarming – Victims of Martial law by Ronalyn Olea May 22, 2010

Political Comeback of Marcos Family Alarming – Victims of Martial law

Published on May 22, 2010


On April 27, 1977, urban poor leader Trinidad Herrera-Ripuno was arrested in Katipunan, Quezon City by virtue of an arrest and search and seizure order (ASSO) of then President Ferdinand Marcos. She was made to suffer brutal torture, which was meant to break her determination and spirit.

“They grabbed my blouse and went on electrocuting me…This lasted for 20 minutes,” Ripuno, then president of Zone One Tondo Organization (Zoto), recalled. “They were insisting that I am a leader of the Communist Party in the National Capital Region, I told them I was not. They did not believe me,” Ripuno told Bulatlat in an interview.

Ripuno, now 68, went on describing that day. While being arrested, she repeatedly shouted her name and her organization, hoping that the people who witnessed the arrest would alert her colleagues. She was first brought to an isolated place; she thought then she would be killed. Later that day, she was brought to Camp Crame. “If not for the people who immediately looked for me, I would have been salvaged.” Salvage is a term used for extrajudicial killing during the Marcos dictatorship. She was released after two weeks due to pressure from the international community.

“I would not forget,” Ripuno said of Marcoses’ human rights violations. Embittered by the apparent comeback of the Marcoses to power, Ripuno said, she and the other victims would continue their struggle for justice.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was elected senator. His mother Imelda would serve as congresswoman of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte and his sister Maria Imelda “Imee” would soon be the governor of Ilocos Norte.

After more than three decades, Ripuno and the other victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship have yet to receive indemnification. “The PCGG [Presidential Commission on Good Government] must be abolished; it has accomplished nothing,” Ripuno said.

In September 1992, Ripuno flew to Hawaii and testified before the District Court of Hawaii. There, she recounted the torture she was made to endure during the Marcos dictatorship..... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/22/political-comeback-of-marcos-family-alarming-%E2%80%93-victims-of-martial-law/

Campaign Contributions, Pre-programming Key to Aquino Victory – Sison by Mondelo May 22, 2010

Campaign Contributions, Pre-programming Key to Aquino Victory – Sison

Correspondent, Bulatlat.com
22 May 2010

1. What can you say about the conduct of the 2010 elections?

JMS: The conduct of the 2010 elections shows the rottenness of the US-dominated ruling system of big compradors and landlords. It was a process dominated by the coalitions, parties and candidates of the reactionary ruling classes. Beforehand, it excluded the leaders of the working people who were repressed or who were without campaign funds. It was merely a personality-based contest of the political agents of the same exploiting classes.

They did not offer any strong differences in terms of program. They mouthed slogans against poverty and corruption and the need for change. But they said nothing about overcoming the three monsters of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism which exploit, impoverish and oppress the people. They gave no serious attention to the worsening crisis of the domestic ruling system and the world capitalist system.

The bilateral alliance of Makabayan and the Nacionalista Party (NP) put forward a common program for land reform, food self-reliance and rural development, expansion of domestic manufacturing and job opportunities, respect for human rights, peace negotiations, ecological protection, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement and independent foreign policy. But the NP downplayed the program.
The biggest winners in the elections were those who attacked the hated Arroyo regime and who benefited most from the biggest collection of campaign money from the big foreign and local businessmen. At the beginning of the campaign, the Liberal Party pretended to rely on piso-piso contributions but it eventually collected and used the biggest amount of campaign money from the big businessmen, thus surpassing the Nacionalista Party in spending.

The unbelievably large leads of Noynoy Aquino over Estrada and Villar have aroused the inquiries into whether the election results were pre-programmed. There are reports that the foreign controllers of the automated system and the Kamag-anak Inc. were able to pre-program the results of the presidential and vice presidential elections. Complaints against poll irregularities are widespread and cast doubts on the veracity of the vote count.... MORE    


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/22/campaign-contributions-pre-programming-key-to-aquino-victory-sison/

Party-list Groups File Motion to Expedite Proclamation of Winners May 29, 2010 By Janess Ann J. Ellao

Party-list Groups File Motion to Expedite Proclamation of Winners

Published on May 29, 2010


The procedures in the canvassing of party list votes is the same as for the other positions, said Commission on Elections Commissioner James Jimenez. And the one thing that keeps them from immediately proclaiming the initial winners is the computation to determine who among the party-list groups have gathered enough votes to get seats, as provided for by Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party List System Act.

“If we announce the winners early when the voting base is still low, some proclaimed winners might be surprised that they have been removed from the list of winners after all election returns have been canvassed and the actual number of party-list votes cast have been counted,” Jimenez told Bulatlat.

Party list representatives constitute no more than twenty percent of the total number of members of the Lower House. With 285 district representatives, there should be 57 seats reserved for party list groups in Congress. Party-list groups that have garnered two percent of the total party list votes gains a seat, up to a maximum of three.

On Tuesday May 25, Comelec announced that they would proclaiming the top ten party lists groups that have garnered two percent of the party-list votes. However by Thursday May 28, Comelec moved the proclamation to Monday May 31 because, its officials said, they have only canvassed 96 percent of the total party-list votes.

But for party list groups, there is no need to wait that long. Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, Bagong Henerasyon, Cibac and other party list groups, filed a motion before Comelec to proclaim two seats each for the top twelve party-list groups that have garnered at least two percent of the party-list votes,
The top twelve party list groups are Ako Bicol, Senior Citizens, Buhay, Akbayan, Gabriela, Coop-Natcco, 1-Care, Abono, Bayan Muna, An Waray, Cibac and A Teacher..... MORE  

  Source: Bulatlat.com

  URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/29/party-list-groups-file-motion-to-expedite-proclamation-of-winners/

Human Rights Groups to Ask UN to Monitor Philippine Government May 29, 2010 By Ronalyn Olea

 Human Rights Groups to Ask UN to Monitor Philippine Government

Published on May 29, 2010

A delegation from Philippine non-government organizations will attend the 14th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, to present President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s “bloody human rights record.”

The Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice for brevity), will send a five-member delegation to Geneva for the session, which will be held from May 31 to June 18.
“We will go to Geneva to register with the UN the human rights record of GMA [Arroyo’s initials] in her nine years as president,” Marie Hilao Enriquez, chairperson of the human rights alliance Karapatan and a member of the delegation, said in a press conference Thursday.

From January 2001 to March 2010, Karapatan documented 1,191 cases of extrajudicial killings, 1,028 cases of torture and 317 political prisoners.

“She is the only president who implemented the bloodiest and most vicious counterinsurgency program because the focus of this is to attack civil-society organizations, a move that was not made by previous presidents,” Enriquez said..... MORE  

 URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/29/human-rights-groups-to-ask-un-to-monitor-philippine-government/

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